- If you have to, set a timer.
- Create folders for the emails you’ll receive from Facebook and LinkedIn, and then create rules that automatically direct any incoming mail into these folders. Open these folders no more than once a day.
- For the first four or six weeks, Facebook can be worse than kudzu. Most people get past this phase. Some do not.
- Use lists to organize your friends. Go to Friends / All Friends / Create new list. Friends and Family. Business. High School. Co-workers. College. Neighbors. Clients. (Friends can appear in more than one list, so the high school friends who are active in your life today can appear in “friends and family” as well as “high school.”) You will quickly find that some FB users have TMFT (too much free time). Put these users in a list of their own, so their numerous posts don’t “crowd out” the important but less frequent posts from other people you want to follow.
- Once a day, look over the postings from people on the lists you care the most about. Some lists won’t change very often.
- If someone has posted something that resonates with you, add a comment.
- Notice that you can turn OFF any particularly inane “games” or “applications” that fall into the category of TMFT. You can also turn off posts from individual users, but putting them in their own list serves the same purpose.
- You can use privacy settings to limit who sees which of your posts, or you can decide to post comments you’re happy for your entire community to see. Your personality will determine which option works better for you.
If you own or represent a business or non-profit entity, consider creating a profile page for that business. You can use the business page to post information directly relevant to the business. Facebook members can become “fans” of that page and receive updates about the business separate from any updates you may want to make about your own life or work.
- Create your profile. Customize your public profile URL.
- Connect to people you know.
- Join groups that appeal to you, that your connections belong to, that strike your fancy. Be sure to set the email notification to “weekly” (the default is daily).
- Consider whether any of the applications suit your life and your online image. Voracious readers may want to consider adding the “Reading List” application.
- Update your “working on” status regularly, or never. Once a week is a good target.
- At the very least, read the weekly LinkedIn update email that contains a synopsis of what your contacts have been doing in Linkedin. Within a few weeks, you’ll learn which of the group emails are worth reading in detail, and which can be skimmed or deleted.
- If you have any extra time, consider answering questions in your area of expertise.
- One very useful time to use LI is before attending an event where it’s possible to know who else will be attending, such as events managed through Meetup or EventBrite. Review the attendees list and look up a few of the profiles in LI. When you attend the meeting, you’ll know something about some of the people who will be present.
- If you’re reading this article because you’re new to social networking and concerned about the amount of time it can take, and if your business operates in a reasonably stable world (i.e., NOT financially dependent on up-to-the-minute breaking news), you can focus on Linkedin and Facebook first.
- You might want to open a Twitter account now if you have a particular user name you want to claim.